Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd Ibn Abdul Aziz today presided over the regular weekly meeting of the Council of Ministers and spoke of the great success that the Saudi industrial sector has achieved both at home and abroad, and of the high quality and standards that have allowed competition in international markets, citing the value of Saudi goods exported to more than ninety countries, as increasing to over SR 23 billion (U.S. $ 6.13 billion) last year.
Information Minister Dr. Fouad Al-Farsi reported that King Fahd went on to review important aspects of the success of Saudi industry, attributing the accomplishments to the government's policy of encouragement as well as to the efforts exerted by those involved in industry, and by the citizens who placed their confidence in it by investing in it and giving preference to its consumable products. Reports show that by the end of 1996 total investment in the industrial sector amounted to more than U.S. $ 42 billion, half of which was contributed by joint Saudi-foreign ventures. Current industrial production is around U.S. $ 25 billion a year. King Fahd declared that industry has made great contributions to the GDP and realized the objectives of the development plans by diversifying the productive base, reducing reliance on the oil sector, increasing the contribution of the private sector, developing national manpower, and laying a firm base for national development.
The cabinet then approved the outcome of the meeting of the Saudi-Senegalese Joint Committee which was held in Dakar at the end of 1417 H (April, 1997) and praised the efforts being exerted by that committee. Reviewing the latest developments in the Arab and Islamic arena, with particular emphasis on the Middle East Peace Process, King Fahd briefed the cabinet on the outcome of the visit to the Kingdom by the Syrian Foreign Minister Farooq Al-Sharaa, which he said runs within the framework of strengthening of ties between the two countries, and reiterated the Kingdom's position that there is no way to salvage the peace process from its troubled situation without reaffirmation of the United Nations resolutions, the principle of land-for-peace, and exhortation of the Israeli government to comply with its commitments and refrain from taking unilateral measures. King Fahd went on to express the Kingdom's full satisfaction at the end of the crisis between Iraq and the UN Security Council.